McIntyre Powder Project

  • Parkinson's related to McIntyre Powder exposure officially recognized as an Occupational Disease

    Parkinson's is now officially recognized by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) as an OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE for workers who were previously required to inhale McIntyre Powder (finely ground aluminum dust) on the job. 

    On June 23, 2020, the WSIB (the workers' compensation authority in Ontario, Canada) published an "Adjudicative approach document" on its website under "McIntyre Powder Update", to explain "how we make decisions about Parkinson's disease claims related to McIntyre Powder".  The initial paragraphs of this document are reproduced below, but the full document is available on the WSIB website.  

    WHAT THIS MEANS FOR WORKERS OR THEIR ESTATES (Next-of Kin) in Ontario, Canada:

    If you were a mine or factory worker in Ontario, Canada with a diagnosis of Parkinson's, and you were exposed to McIntyre Powder during the course of your employment, you should file a workers' compensation claim with the Ontario WSIB.  If the worker is deceased, the worker's next-of-kin should file a WSIB claim on behalf of the Estate.  

    In cases where the worker or Estate is unsure about McIntyre Powder exposure, you are welcome to contact Janice Martell of the McIntyre Powder Project for assistance at 1-800-461-7120. 

    WHAT THIS MEANS FOR WORKERS OR THEIR ESTATES (Next-of Kin) anywhere else in the WORLD:

    McIntyre Powder was historically used (between 1943-1979) as a compulsory preventative medical treatment (prophylaxis) for workers in multiple workplaces in Canada, the United States, Western Australia, Belgian Congo, Mexico and Chile, plus an extended trial at Geevor Tin Mine in England. [Refer to list of known industrial licensees under our "RESOURCES" tab on this website].  McIntyre Powder was primarily used in industries (mines and factories) where workers were exposed to silica dust, on the unproven (since disproven) theory that inhaling finely ground aluminum dust would prevent the lung disease silicosis.  

    In March, 2020 an epidemiological data linkage study conducted by the Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC) in Ontario, Canada, found an increased risk of Parkinson's and parkinsonism in Ontario miners related to McIntyre Powder exposure. A copy of this study can be found on the Occupational Cancer Research Centre website (https://www.occupationalcancer.ca/2020/mcintyre-powder-study/).

    If you were a mine or factory worker anywhere else in the WORLD with a diagnosis of Parkinson's, and you were exposed to McIntyre Powder during the course of your employment, you should contact your local workers' compensation authority to file a claim.  If the worker is deceased, the worker's next-of-kin should contact your local workers' compensation authority to file a claim on behalf of the Estate. 

    In cases where the worker or Estate is unsure about McIntyre Powder exposure, you are welcome to contact Janice Martell of the McIntyre Powder Project for assistance at 1-800-461-7120. 

     

    WSIB Adjudicative Approach Document highlights:

    "Initial entitlement

    The WSIB recognizes Parkinson’s disease resulting from occupational exposure to McIntyre Powder as an occupational disease.

    Initial entitlement is allowed for Parkinson’s disease that occurs due to the nature of one or more employments in which the worker was exposed to McIntyre Powder.

    Claims for initial entitlement for Parkinson’s disease will be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis. In all cases, entitlement decisions for Parkinson’s disease must be based on the merits and justice of the case, taking into account all of the facts and circumstances.

    Purpose

    The purpose of this adjudicative approach document is to provide entitlement guidelines for claims of Parkinson’s disease in Ontario miners with McIntyre Powder exposure.

    Guidelines

    Determining initial entitlement In determining the work-relatedness of Parkinson’s disease claims, the decision-maker will consider whether:

    1. the nature of the worker’s employment resulted in exposure to McIntyre Powder;

    2. the worker has an established diagnosis for Parkinson’s disease; and

    3. the exposure to McIntyre Powder preceded the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.

    If established, the above will generally be considered persuasive evidence that the worker’s employment made a significant contribution to the worker’s Parkinson’s disease."

    (Source: WSIB website, McIntyre Powder Update, accessed July 2, 2020: https://www.wsib.ca/en/mcintyre-powder-update)


  • Risk of Parkinson's Linked with McIntyre Powder Exposure

    On May 7, 2020, the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) released the results of a March 12, 2020 study conducted by Paul Demers and colleagues of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC).  

    The study found an increased risk of Parkinson's and parkinsonism among McIntyre Powder-exposed miners in Ontario, Canada. 

    The study also found an increased risk of Alzheimer's and motor neuron disease associated with miners overall in Ontario, Canada.  This would be of particular interest to anyone diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), since the researchers noted that 70% of all motor neuron disease cases are ALS. 

    The study concluded: "This study found an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease associated with exposure to McIntyre Powder among Ontario miners, in comparison to both unexposed miners and the general population of Ontario. The risk appeared to increase with duration of exposure and was stronger for people exposed after 1956, when the formulation was changed to decrease the particle sizes. The association was also stronger for gold miners than uranium miners. No association was found between McIntyre Powder exposure and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease or motor neuron disease, although miners overall had an increased risk compared to the general population. These other associations deserve further research to identify whether they may be related to other suspected neurological hazards in mining." (INVESTIGATION OF MCINTYRE POWDER EXPOSURE AND NEUROLOGICAL OUTCOMES IN THE MINING MASTER FILE COHORT: FINAL REPORT - Occupational Cancer Research Centre, March 12, 2020). 

    Between 1943 and 1979-80, employees at many mines, factories, and industries were required by their employers to inhale McIntyre Powder (finely ground aluminum dust) each work shift, on the unproven theory (since disproven) that it would prevent the lung disease silicosis.  McIntyre Powder was used in mines and factories in Canada, United States, Western Australia, Mexico, Chile, and the Belgian Congo, plus Geevor Tin Mine in England.  For a list of known industries that were licensed to use McIntyre Powder, see our "Resources" tab. 

    If you (or your deceased loved one) worked in mining, factories, or industries where McIntyre Powder may have been used and you have Parkinson's or parkinsonism, you may be eligible for workers' compensation, or your Estate may be eligible for survivor benefits. Contact the local workers' compensation authority in the province/state/country where you (or your loved one) worked. In Ontario, Canada, you can make a claim by contacting the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) at: 1-800-387-0750.  

    If you (or your deceased loved one) worked in mining in Ontario and you are/were diagnosed with Alzheimer's or motor neuron disease (particularly ALS), you may also wish to contact the Ontario WSIB to make a claim. 

    For further information, you are welcome to contact the McIntyre Powder Project founder, Janice Martell, at 1-800-461-7120. 


  • Open Letter to Ontario WSIB

    The Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) administers the workers' compensation system in Ontario, Canada. Documents obtained from WSIB under a Freedom of Information request provide concerning evidence of systemic imbalance at the peril of workers afflicted by occupational diseases and their families - particularly workers in mining, building trades, and factory work, who are at high risk of developing occupational diseases. 

    An open letter video to the Ontario WSIB by the founder of the McIntyre Powder Project is posted under the "Links" section of this website.  Please take the time to view this video, which outlines critical flaws in the workers' compensation system and provides the rationale and evidence needed for us to change the system. Thank you! 


  • Access your Records from the Sputum Cytology Program for Uranium Miners

    Uranium Miners who participated in the Sputum Cytology program can now request copies of their records from the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada.  

    The sputum cytology program was a voluntary screening program for uranium miners to monitor cell changes in their sputum (spit) to screen for possible lung cancer. 

    The data historically collected from uranium miners under the sputum cytology program was stored on floppy discs. Some of that data was recovered, and personal records can be requested by each individual miner or their Estate by contacting the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada by phone, letter, or email.  Please see contact information below, as provided by the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada. 

    Contact:  Curtis B. Caldwell, Chief Scientist, Radiation Safety Institute of Canada

    Address: 100 Sheppard Ave East, Suite 760, Toronto, ON M2N 6N5

    Email: ccaldwell@radiationsafety.ca

    Phone: 1-416-650-9090 ext. 25

     


  • McIntyre Powder analysis published in Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene

    Andrew Zarnke and colleagues have analyzed the physical and chemical characteristics of canisters of McIntyre Powder. Their results are now published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (see "JOEH McIntyre Powder analysis" under "Links"). 

    One of the critically important findings from this research is that the size of McIntyre Powder particles is extremely small.  McIntyre Powder was found to be comprised of particles that are in the fine particulate and ultrafine particulate (nanoparticle) size range. 

    Inhaled nanoparticles have the potential to enter the bloodstream from the lung and travel to other areas of the body.  Future research on the potential health consequences of McIntyre Powder inhalation will continue, now that we have a solid understanding of its physical and chemical properties. 

     



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